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E-cigarette companies Victory, FIN to merge
February 13th, 2014
SPRING LAKE, Mich. – Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corp. and FIN Branding Group plan to merge in a deal that the companies said will create one of the world's leading providers of electronic cigarettes.
Victory and FIN said Wednesday that they have signed a definitive agreement and expect to close the merger transaction in the coming weeks. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The merged entity leverages the FIN brand and sales and marketing depth of the FIN organization along with the supply chain capabilities, international reach and financial strength of Victory, the companies said.
Within the past 30 days, Victory completed the acquisition of VapeStick, one of Europe's leading e-cigarette brands, and a partnership with Fields Texas Ltd. to drive global distribution and retail expansion. Victory noted that the addition of FIN will immediately boost its scale and distribution in the United States and further its efforts to consolidate the e-cigarette industry globally.
FIN has distribution in all 50 states, including more than 50,000 outlets. The company said it's one of the top three e-cigarette brands in the convenience, drug, mass and food retail channels. FIN added that it has the No. 1 market share position in Walmart and is a leading brand in other major retailers, including Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kroger, 7-11, Circle K, Sam's Club, Murphy USA, Stripes, Mapco and over 200 other major retail chains.
"FIN is a powerhouse in the U.S. with a great brand, great presence and great growth trends," stated Brent Willis, chairman and chief executive officer of Victory, and a former senior executive at InBev, Kraft and Coca-Cola Co. "Their strength in sales and marketing is unmatched, and their management team is impressive. Elliot Maisel, FIN's chairman and CEO, is hugely respected and has a tremendous track record of success both in the beer industry and in leading FIN to become one of the pre-eminent e-cig companies in the U.S. He is going to be a great partner as we combine efforts together with Bill Fields, Michael Clapper and others to build the world's largest independent electronic cigarette company."
The merger will create an enterprise with 2014 sales on track to exceed $100 million. With the integration of the FIN Branding Group, Victory has completed three major transactions in recent months, and the company said it expects to complete multiple others to grow its brand, distribution and retailer platforms worldwide.
"We are delighted to have someone of Elliot's character and caliber join the team and are confident that the FIN brand will be an iconic American brand that we can leverage into much broader distribution," commented Victory board member Bill Fields, chairman of Fields Texas and a former CEO of Walmart. " Together with the Victory Brand at an opening price point and other exclusive brands, we believe we have a compelling offer for both retailers and distributors alike."
On Thursday, Victory announced that Maisel announced that will join Victory's board of as vice chairman and lead director.
"The combination of the FIN and Victory brands provides an incredible one-two punch for distributors, retailers and consumers, and an opportunity to further increase shareholder value by capturing significant cost and revenue synergies," Maisel stated about the merger. "The combination of the FIN and Victory organizations, coupled with the leadership of Fields Texas and VapeStick in Europe, creates a company with greater potential and growth opportunity than any other competitor in the industry. I am very excited to help lead the organization to become the largest independent electronic cigarette company in the world."